Night of Terrors

October 27, 2015 § 2 Comments

A little bit of violence entered our lives on Friday night.

J and I were staying at Hotel Sorella in Kansas City, en route to my friend’s wedding in Columbia the next day. We were exhausted from traveling all morning and had turned in early to get a good night’s sleep.

Around 2:30 a.m., we both happened to wake up to use the bathroom. As we settled back into bed, we heard a faint noise in the hallway. The noise got louder and became recognizable as screaming — someone yelling “I need help!”

For a few seconds, I lay paralyzed. Oh my god. Someone is dying in the hallway.

Then J scrambled out of bed to put clothes on and check it out. I stumbled to the phone and called the front desk.

“There’s someone screaming ‘I need help’ in the hallway,” I told the staff who picked up.
“Got it,” she replied. “We already had a call about the noise so we have an off-duty police officer coming to check it out.”
The screaming was getting louder.
“Okay, but please hurry because it sounds pretty bad,” I said.

I put down the phone and went to the door, heart fluttering with panic. Just before waking up, I had had a dream that I had almost gotten shot by someone on the street, and now I imagined a crazed killer running loose in the hotel and threatening my boyfriend’s life.

J was standing right outside the door. About ten feet away, leaning against the hotel’s striped wall, was a woman. She was completely naked. I didn’t have my glasses on but could see she was pretty scratched up. She had stopped screaming but was still moaning in fear and pain. She wouldn’t look at us and didn’t move as we tried to coax her into our room to safety.

Finally, we got her in the door, and I realized that she was beat up pretty horrifically, with bruises all over her face and some bad cuts on her right arm that were still bleeding.

I took her into the bathroom and wrapped a towel around her. She was shaking and crying, alternately moaning that her head hurt and that she needed help. I was terrified for our safety. What if her attacker came back and tried to hurt all of us?

I had J bring us a bathrobe so I could cover her up properly. The big cut on her arm was so bad that I couldn’t bear to look at it, though I did see that a chunk of skin was hanging off. She couldn’t even put her arm through the sleeve.

I just held her as we stood against the bathroom wall with the door closed and the fan on so we couldn’t make out whatever J was saying from the bedroom as he desperately called for police and an ambulance. I didn’t know what else to do, and I didn’t want to risk her running off on her own.

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Rant: Loudmouths at Concerts

October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Why in the world do people go to shows if they’re just going to talk the whole time?!

At the end of July, I attended SummerStage at Central Park. It’s fun because it’s outdoors, and you can bring blankets and food and have a nice picnic along with the music. Dawes and First Aid Kit were billed equally as headliners, but First Aid Kit ended up performing before Dawes; I suppose the latter is more well-known, but I was there for the Swedish ladies.


We weren’t sitting that close to the stage (as you can see, that area up front is standing room only), but still close enough to ostensibly be there to hear the music. On the outer edges of the makeshift venue were stands where you could buy food or drinks.

People around us talked the whole time, and using their outdoor voices. The din of everyone’s conversation relegated the opening act to background music. It didn’t help that the volume of the music wasn’t nearly loud enough throughout the whole show.

I didn’t mind so much at first, but once First Aid Kit came on stage, a group of young adults (not pictured) came and sat down at an open spot in front of us. And boy were they having the time of their lives! Just talking and laughing noisily like they were at a bar.

I’m not a confrontational person by any stretch of the imagination, but occasionally I can get going when filled with righteous anger. And no assholes were going to keep me from giving First Aid Kit my full attention. So I stepped over and said to the loudest guy, “Can you guys talk quieter please?!”

It was not my most grammatically proud moment. But at least they finally realized other people were actually trying to hear the music.

It was also — and still is — baffling to me that people would pay money ($37.50 per ticket, not super expensive but not that cheap either!) to go somewhere and just talk over the performers. I get that maybe most of the people were there for Dawes and not First Aid Kit, but what about common courtesy to the musicians as well as the rest of the audience?!

Alas, the same thing happened to me last night at a concert for MS MR. It was a great show with two amazing opening acts (Vérité and Jack Garratt). I was perched at a prime spot on Terminal 5’s second floor balcony.


Just as Vérité finished their set, this white couple about my age came and stood next to me at the railing. And oh my god they would not stop talking!!!!! They blabbered through Jack Garratt’s entire performance, and I could barely concentrate on how awesome he was due to their loud, inane chatter. Eventually, the guy on the other side of them told them to hush.

Before MS MR came on, the people on the other side of me left, so I moved down the railing to get away from the two loudmouths…but they ended up moving right along with me! And continued their inebriated banalities through MS MR’s first few songs.

Seriously, why were they even there?! There are places where you can go and order drinks and talk loudly and it’s called a fucking bar!

I got so fed up that after a few songs, I leaned over and yelled, “Can you two stop talking for ONE SONG?!?”

The guy was like, “Whooaaaa” but neither of them actually acknowledged me. They quieted down some but continued talking, and at that point I had to conclude that they were just drunk. How else can you be so obtuse?

I can put up with a lot at a concert. Invasion of personal space, like when the woman’s long flowing hair fell into her beer and then somehow wiped that beer on the back of my hand, I won’t make a big fuss about if you’re contributing to the atmosphere of the show by actually enjoying the music. If you’re dancing and bump into me, I don’t care.


I don’t know if this is a NYC thing, or a young people thing, or a cheap-ish concerts thing, but oblivious assholes like these should just stay away from live shows. I would posit, however, that it does have something to do with age (and booze).

When I went to see Todrick Hall’s Twerk du Soleil show last year, his opening acts were a couple of aspiring pop stars who were basically mediocrely talented teenagers singing covers. But the audience, comprising also mostly teenagers (yes I felt out of place and old), were respectfully quiet during these performances! Or they weren’t drunk enough to not care.

It pains me that my peers see fit to talk over artists with actual talent, like First Aid Kit and Jack Garratt. They deserve better, and so do I.

The Houses of San Francisco

September 20, 2015 § 6 Comments

The most striking thing to me about San Francisco, apart from the hills, is how uniformly cute and old the buildings are. For example, this bewitching beauty looks like it’s straight out of a picture book:


I wondered, though, what these houses looked like on the inside.

During my visit, I stayed with Kaiti, who lives in an unassuming apartment building with bay windows. Bay windows are ubiquitous in this town!

She told me her building dated back to the 1920s; the floors and doors creaked so loudly it was like screeching. When I was home by myself on Monday, I could hear someone above me walking around, opening and shutting drawers, and thought to myself it could very well be a ghost in a building with this much history. (I might’ve been delirious.)

Anyway, I was enamored with some of the colorful Victorian rowhouses we came across, but I feel like it must be a lot of work to upkeep, plus I don’t like living in old buildings, so I just appreciated them from the outside.


So cute!


Such intricate details!

They certainly make the buildings in NYC look bland.

This pink house has seen better days, but just the thought of living in a pink house (THE DREAM!) made me smile.


We also saw some very large and ornate gates (the one on the right was like 12 feet tall; you can see the tiny shape of the actual door in the bottom half).


Kaiti decided to pose on a few stoops, like we were just friendly neighbors.

5 scallop

Scalloped and baby blue — SO PRETTY

Vibrant and McDonald's colored

Vibrant and McDonald’s colored

This house has wings?!

This house has wings?!

SF Day 1: The Agony & the Ecstasy
SF Day 2: Staying Alive
SF Day 3.1: A New Morning

SF Day 3.2: Walk, Eat Until You Die
SF Day 4: At Last, the Bridge

San Francisco Day 4: At Last, the Bridge

September 17, 2015 § 5 Comments

I saved the Golden Gate Bridge for my last full day because I figured it would involve a lot of walking, which I was finally up for doing by Wednesday.

Kaiti and I started our day at Turtle Tower, a well-known Vietnamese restaurant in the Tenderloin area. She recommended I get their chicken noodle soup, which was good, but came with so many noodles that they sucked up all the soup before I had finished even half the bowl!



While planning for my trip, I had read that Tenderloin was to be avoided, but I couldn’t be sure how sketchy it really was. Kaiti seemed to be fine walking through it by herself.

After our brunch, we walked around the area trying to buy a box of tissues for our drippy noses (I had forgotten to bring my usual cache), and I decided that those cautioning against traveling through Tenderloin had the right idea. Everything was run-down and far less cute or well-maintained compared to the rest of the city. There were also a surprising number of Vietnamese restaurants — interesting that these businesses coexist peacefully alongside the sketchy Tenderloin population?

Random passport cover on the street

Random passport cover on the street

We finally found some tissues at a Walgreens. The ramshackle bodegas we tried were no help.

Then, onward to the bridge! For some reason the address that Kaiti put into her Lyft app directed us to the other side of the bridge, so we drove back and forth across it for no reason (including paying the extra tolls?!). At least it saved us the effort of walking across it I guess.


I saw quite a few of these GoCars around the city. Three wheels with hardly any visible protection from the elements/other cars — doesn’t look very safe to me?!



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San Francisco Day 3.2: Walk, Eat Until You Die

September 14, 2015 § 5 Comments


I didn’t have definite plans for the afternoon, which is why I somehow agreed to the grueling hike over and up to Coit Tower from the Ferry Building (I think Kaiti was trying to kill me). It’s only a mile from the Ferry Building, but the last bit consists of 400 stairs, and I really thought I was going to die. I would’ve been fine if I weren’t sick, but alas, my body barely managed the climb.

Fresh-faced at the beginning of our journey

Fresh-faced at the beginning of our journey

So far away T__T

Halfway to the tower, but still so far away T__T

I took a lot of breaks LOL

I took a lot of breaks LOL



Blackberries on the way up?

Blackberries on the way up

The views at the top of Telegraph Hill were a small consolation. The bottom level of Coit Tower had a cool wraparound mural and small gift shop. We didn’t go up the tower elevator because we didn’t want to wait in line, and sadly, we did not see or hear any parrots.


Looooong Bay Bridge

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San Francisco Day 3.1: A New Morning

September 11, 2015 § 5 Comments

By Tuesday, I felt a bit better — still congested, achy and now coughing, but able to move around more and finally bring my camera (Olympus OM-D E-M5) out in the afternoon for some better quality photos.

Kaiti and I started our day early, heading out at 7 a.m. for a double whammy breakfast at Craftsman and Wolves and Tartine.

C&W is known for their Rebel Within, a poached egg inside a muffin speckled with green onions, which was reminiscent of Chinese scallion rolls (hua juan). I also couldn’t resist picking up a fig tart because they were so pretty!







We got to Tartine before 8 a.m. and there was already a line forming outside. I was full, but we ordered a cup of bread pudding, a mini lemon tart and a pain au jambon (ham croissant).

I’m always drawn to bread pudding on dessert menus because I love bread and pudding. Yet somehow I’m never completely satisfied, I guess because I always expect it to be breadier? More like French toast maybe? Tartine’s bread pudding had the texture of watery scrambled eggs. I’m not saying it was bad, but I probably shouldn’t order bread pudding anymore.

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San Francisco Day 2: Staying Alive

September 8, 2015 § 5 Comments

I spent most of my second day convalescing in Kaiti’s bed while she was at work. #Mondayblues

In the morning, I managed to walk around the corner for some breakfast (and to buy three more boxes of tissues at CVS).

Flour & Co was a cute little bakery where I ordered a bowl of oatmeal, which I figured was good sick-person food. It was humongous. I also grabbed a lemon olive oil biscuit to nibble on throughout the day.


For dinner, Kaiti and I went to Palm House in the Marina neighborhood. At 5:30 p.m., the place was practically empty. The decor was super cute, with colorful birdcages hanging from the windowed ceiling. If I had a house with a sunroom, I’d totally decorate it like this!




Smiling through the sickness

Smiling through the sickness

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